Future Graduate Students

Associate Professor Director of Graduate Studies
Prof. Michael Hoepfner
Director of Graduate Studies

Welcome, and thank you for your interest in the Graduate Program of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Utah. Whether you are a prospective student interested in learning  about degrees and research opportunities, or a current student looking for policies, procedures or forms, you should find the answers to your questions in these pages.

The Department of Chemical Engineering offers a variety of doctoral and masters degrees for recently graduated Bachelors students and working professionals alike. We take pride in our diverse and growing graduate student population that represents all corners of the globe. With more than 20 professors and over $10 million per year in research funding, our chemical engineering department is among the largest and most successful in the western U.S. The professors in our department have earned many prestigious research and teaching awards, and our graduate students have gone on to great careers in academia and industry.

We invite you to explore the various degrees we offer, to visit the web pages of department faculty and to read about the cutting edge research we perform. If you have questions or wish to schedule a visit to our department, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Why the University of Utah?

The faculty in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Utah are actively involved in diverse research areas, including:

  • Biomedical and Biotechnology
  • Energy and Fuels
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Materials and Nanotechnology
  • Multi-scale Simulation
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Petroleum Engineering

Additional faculty and program research highlights:

  • 22 tenure/tenure track research faculty
  • 70+ current PhD/MS students
  • >$8 million in annual research expenditures
  • 3 current NSF CAREER award winning faculty


The University of Utah, in general, offers many social, recreational, and cultural events on campus, and, as a member of PAC-12, we boast several very successful athletics programs. Campus life is packed with concerts, plays, festivals and sporting events. Utah’s museums of Fine Arts and Natural History are located on campus, as is the state’s arboretum and gardens. The University of Utah has recreational facilities for racquetball, handball, golf, basketball, tennis (indoor and outdoor), volleyball, gymnastics, squash, weight training and numerous other sports. Three indoor pools assure access to swimming year-round. The field house has an indoor track, courts for tennis and other racquet sports, as well as exercise areas, whirlpools and saunas. Campus Recreation offers organized programs and inexpensive rental equipment for popular off-campus outdoor activities.

The chemical engineering department, specifically, aims to graduate students who leave our program richer in culture and friends, as well as knowledge and skill. We see the diversity in our department as an important ingredient to our success and hope to offer a respectful and welcoming community to all students.


The University of Utah offers students a unique environment. Located on the foothills of Salt Lake City, we are near a vibrant and economically healthy metropolis. Salt Lake City is the cultural and sports center of the vast intermountain region between the Sierras and the Rockies. It supports professional groups such as the Utah SymphonyBallet West, two modern dance companies and the Utah Opera Company. Salt Lake is also home of the NBA’s Utah Jazz and the Bees Baseball Team. An international film festival, the Sundance Film Festival, takes place annually in Park City, and several major arts and entertainment festivals are annual local traditions.

However, we are also surrounded by some of the world’s most stunning natural landscapes and exciting recreational opportunities. As any experienced snow boarder or skier would know, our mountains are world renown and the U’s campus is just minutes from the slopes. Winter recreation facilities surrounding and within our campus are amongst the best in the world, due in part to the 2002 Olympics, which were hosted in Salt Lake City. Spring through fall, our nearby mountains offer scenic hiking trails, challenging rock climbing routes, and many opportunities for stream and lake fishing. A short drive south and you may find yourself in the gorgeous solitude of one of our many national parks, surrounded by landscapes that are without equal.

Whether you prefer to your recreation in the city or in the country, the University of Utah has much to offer.

Degrees Offered

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Chemical Engineering represents scholarly achieve­ment demonstrated by independent research. A Ph.D. candidate must be able to demonstrate competence in the subject matter of his or her field. Of major importance to the Ph.D. degree is the student’s research, publication in peer-reviewed journals, and dissertation, which must provide new and significant contribution to knowledge in the student’s field. The intellectual and creative matter presented in the dissertation must meet the standards of the department and university. Typically, successful completion of a PhD degree requires five years for students entering the program with a Bachelors degree. The maximum allowable time for completion of the PhD degree is seven years.


A summary of steps towards the PhD degree is shown below. (Click image to download a PDF version.)

PhD Program Overview - Click for a PDF version

Other Requirements

In addition to the steps shown above, PhD students must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Publish a minimum of two first-author articles in peer-reviewed journals
  • Present research at local and national conferences
  • Participate in graduate seminars and symposia
  • Serve as a teaching assistant for two chemical engineering courses

For additional details, please refer to the Gradaute Handbook.

The Master of Science degree allows students an opportunity to earn an advanced degree in chemical engineering in less time and with lower research intensity than the PhD degree. Students will develop a deeper understanding of core principles of chemical engineering and will learn the art of independent research. The Master of Science in Chemical Engineering degree can be a good springboard for a PhD, since the course requirements for the two degrees are similar.

The University of Utah Department of Chemical Engineering offers several options for students to earn a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering degree:

  • Coursework-Based track*: This self-funded option provides an opportunity for students to deepen their knowledge of chemical engineering subjects through coursework. Students must complete 30 credit hours of core and elective engineering courses with an average GPA of 3.3 to receive their degree. This track can usually be completed in 16 to 24 months. Students on this track are responsible for covering all costs for the degree.
  • Project-Based track*: Under this self-funded track, students perform an independent, self-directed project chosen either through consultation with their supervisory committee or through their employer. The project is worth six credit hours and students take 24 addition­al core and elective credit hours. Completing the degree involves an oral defense of the project before the supervisory committee. This track can usually be completed in 16 to 24 months. Students on this track are responsible for covering all costs for the degree.
  • Thesis-Based track: The thesis based track is for existing University of Utah students and is coordinated through special arrangement with a supporting faculty member; it is not available for outside applicants. For the thesis-based Master of Science degree, students must complete 30 credit hours of core and elective courses and perform independent research under the direction of a faculty advisor. It is expected that at least one peer-reviewed article related to the research project will be published. Students must write and successfully orally defend a Masters thesis in order to receive the degree. This track typically takes 24 to 36 months to complete.

    * Students can switch between the coursework- and project-based non-thesis tracks at any time during their degree.

In addition to these standalone Masters programs, the Department of Chemical Engineering, in collaboration with the David Eccles School of Business, offers a dual MBA and MS in Chemical Engineering program. Moreover, current University of Utah chemical engineering undergraduates (freshmen-juniors) are encouraged to consider the department’s dual BS/MS in Chemical Engineering program.

Masters Program Overview

A summary of steps towards the PhD degree is shown below. (Click image to download a PDF version.)

Masters in Chemical Engineering Overview - Click for PDF version

Other Requirements

In addition to the steps shown above, Masters students on the thesis-based track are expected to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Publish a minimum of one first-author article in a peer-reviewed journal
  • Serve as a teaching assistant for one chemical engineering course
  • Present research at local and national conferences
  • Participate in graduate seminars and symposia

For additional details, please refer to the Gradaute Handbook!

The Department of Chemical Engineering offers a combined BS/MS degree program for current ChE undergraduate students at the University of Utah. The program is designed to expedite the completion of both the undergraduate and graduate degrees and will provide students an opportunity to participate in graduate research and advanced engineering coursework.

Degree Requirements

Students in the BS/MS program have a reduced technical elective requirement (6 hours) for obtaining their BS degree and may begin working towards their MS degree concurrently by enrolling in graduate-level engineering courses. The program may be completed with only 1 additional year compared to the BS degree, which is 1 year less than obtaining the degrees sequentially.

The MS degree has 2 tracks: coursework and project-based. Both tracks have a 30 credit hour requirement and the Graduate Handbook has detailed information on the specifics of the degree requirements. In the project-based track, students can take up to 6 credit hours of CH EN 6253 – Advanced Design Project while working with a faculty member on a research project. Students must form a committee and defend their project at the conclusion of their research to obtain the MS degree. The project-based track is an excellent approach to gain exposure to graduate level research prior to committing to a doctoral program.

Applying for the combined BS/MS degree

Students interested in the combined BS/MS degree apply during the spring semester of their junior year (i.e., when enrolled in Mass Transfer, CH EN 3603). Students with a cumulative GPA >3.6 are eligible to apply for the program, and students with a >3.3 GPA may apply with a support letter from a chemical engineering faculty member. The application deadline is May 1. Because the BS and MS degrees are conferred at the same time, the BS/MS program is not open to international students since the Form I-20 does not permit two concurrent careers.

Ready to get started? Please fill out the application and candidacy forms:

More information:

For more information about the combined BS/MS degree, including a recommended schedule of courses, students should consult the Undergraduate Student Handbook. Full MS program degree requirements are found in the Graduate Handbook.

Financial Support

All PhD graduate students admitted to the chemical engineering graduate program are employed as either Graduate Fellows or Graduate Research Assistants and receive:

  • An annual stipend of over $31,000.
  • Tuition benefit to waive the cost of tuition (does not include differential tuition or international fees).
  • 80% health insurance payment.

Scholarships and Fellowships

Select scholarship and fellowship opportunities are described below. Students are also encouraged to explore scholarship and fellowship opportunities listed on the following web sites:

Each year the University of Utah College of Engineering distributes several one-year scholarships or fellowships to the most highly qualified incoming PhD students in the college. Students do not apply for these scholarships themselves; rather, the chairs of the various engineering departments make recommendations to the college scholarship selection committee based on the quality of the student’s graduate school application. Recipients of these awards typically receive $15,000 during their first year, which is matched by $15,000 from the department. The cost of tuition is also waived for these individuals.

Application Process

Applicants to the graduate program in the Department of Chemical Engineering must meet the following requirements:

  • Bachelors Degree:  Applicants must have a Bachelors degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Applicants whose undergraduate degree is not in chemical engineering are expected to be able to demonstrate proficiency in chemical engineering concepts equivalent to those of a chemical engineering graduate.
  • GPA:  A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) is required for an application to be evaluated. For applicants to the PhD program, a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.3 is encouraged.
  • GRE Test (Optional):  The GRE is no longer required for PhD or MS admissions to the Department of Chemical Engineering. However, applicants are still encouraged to submit GRE scores if available. A quantitative score of 160 or higher is recommended.
  • English Proficiency Requirements:  International applicants are required to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo test. The University of Utah requires a minimum TOEFL score of 80 iBT (550 pBT), a minimum IELTS band score of 6.5, or a minimum Duolingo score of 105 for an application to be evaluated. The Department of Chemical Engineering looks favorably upon applicants with a minimum TOEFL iBT score of 96 (590 pBt; 7 IELTS). International students that have received a Bachelors or Masters degree from an accredited institution in the United States, Canada (except Quebec), the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand are not required to take the above listed English proficiency exams. Please also review the University of Utah requirements for English Proficiency.

Deadlines for applying to the PhD or MS in Chemical Engineering program are indicated below. PhD applicants are encouraged to submit their applications by the priority deadline to be considered for funding and to ensure timely evaluation and response. All application material and the application fee must be received by the University of Utah by the date indicated.


PhD in Chemical Engineering Application Deadlines*

Semester Domestic International
Fall  (priority) January 1 December 15
Fall  (final) January 15 January 15
Spring  (priority) October 1* Not Admitted
Spring  (final) November 1* Not Admitted

 *Spring applications are only accepted from those who have previously received an offer for hire.
International PhD applicants accepted for fall semester only. No summer admits for the PhD program.

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering Application Deadlines

Semester Domestic International
Fall April 1 April 1
Spring November 1 October 1

                                                                * No summer admits for the MS program.

The Department of Chemical Engineering and the College of Engineering strive to keep applications fees for graduate degrees as low as possible.

Application Fees Starting January 1, 2021. Note: No cost for Domestic PhD applications, email our Graduate Advisor for information.

Domestic MS $55 International MS $65
Domestic PhD $0 International PhD $65

We also offer a limited number of international applicant fee waivers for the PhD program for qualified individuals. Please follow this link for more information and to submit a request for a fee waiver.

The University of Utah uses the ApplyYourself system for all graduate program applications. To submit an application for a Masters or PhD degree in Chemical Engineering, please click on the button below, which will take you to the ApplyYourself web site. After you have created an account on the ApplyYourself system, you can enter and upload all information required for the application (see below).


The online ApplyYourself application requires the following information:

  • Personal Information – Name, contact information
  • Educational History – Schools attended and degrees conferred
  • Transcripts and GPA – Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the application. You are not required to send official transcripts to the University of Utah until you have received a letter from the Department of Chemical Engineering indicating that your application has progressed through the preliminary evaluations. All transcripts must be mailed directly to:

University of Utah Admissions Office
201 South 1460 East, Room 250 S
Salt Lake City, UT 84112 USA

  • Do not mail transcripts to the Chemical Engineering Department; applications sent directly to the department will not be uploaded to the application. The GPA equivalent (on a 4.0 scale) of students whose undergraduate institution is outside the U.S. will be calculated by the University of Utah Office of Admissions.
  • GRE Test Score (Optional) – GRE scores are optional for all PhD and MS applicants. Scores must be no more than 2 years old and must be sent directly to the Department of Chemical Engineering by Education Testing Services (ETS). Our school code is 4853; our department code is 1001.
  • TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo Score (if applicable) – Official EFL scores must be sent directly to the Admissions Office by Education Testing Services (ETS). They may not be more than 2 years old.
  • Written Statement of Purpose – Approximately 1 page describing the applicant’s motivation for seeking a graduate degree.
  • Resume – This is optional, but highly recommended. The resume should include a description of work experience, prior research, publications and presentations, and teaching experience (if any) as well as any relevant awards or scholarships received.
  • Letters of Recommendation – A minimum of three letters of recommendation from individuals that can comment on an applicant’s motivation and professionalism (e.g. professors, supervisors) are required. As part of the application, you will be asked to provide contact information for three references. These references will be notified, via email, to upload their letters of recommendation to your online Apply Yourself account. They will also be asked to fill out a brief recommendation form online before submitting their letters. Individuals providing reference letters must complete and submit letters through the online application system. Hard copy (paper) letters of recommendation will not be accepted. Instructions are provided in the ApplyYourself application form.

The Chemical Engineering Department will notify all students when the University of Utah Admissions Office Application had been received by the department. Applicants can track their University of Utah Admissions Application (Track Application).

More questions? Contact us!

Feel free to reach out to our graduate advisors if you have questions about our graduate program.

Wanda Brown

Michael Hoepfner